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* Alumni Hall of Fame
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William H. Wiley
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William H. Wiley
Inducted September 2001
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William H. Wiley

Class of 1866
Giant of Scientific and Technical Publishing
1842-1925

William Wiley’s education was interrupted by the Civil War, in which he commanded two companies of artillery and was retired as brevet “or gallant and meritorious services.”

After earning his civil engineering degree at Rensselaer, he practiced engineering in the East and Midwest for nine years.

In 1876 he entered the publishing business with his father and brother, under the firm name of John Wiley & Sons. The family company had published works by Cooper, Emerson, Melville, and Poe. Once in charge, Wiley phased out all publishing programs not concerned with science and technology, and established the firm as America’s premier publisher of scientific and technical books.

By 1895 the company became a worldwide organization, distributing American scientific knowledge around the globe, including the work of Rensselaer faculty.

Wiley served three terms in the U.S. Congress as a representative from New Jersey and was a national leader of Theta Xi for 60 years, having been a founding member of the fraternity’s alpha chapter at Rensselaer.




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